Football season is almost officially here. Like so many others, I love football – for the team (Go Steelers), the sport, and the food! While buffalo wings with an ice-cold beer are awesome, my go-to football meal is actually Margarita Chicken with Mango & Avocado Salsa. It might sound strange, but hear me out!
There is something magically fabulous about firing up the grill and having the husband perfectly cook marinated chicken while I quickly chop up a few fresh ingredients, steam rice in the cooker, and in just a few minutes – WHAM! A healthy, beautiful, fresh, and oh-so-mouth-watering meal is done & we’re ready for some FOOTBALL! Plus, any leftovers are tossed together and eaten an hour later with tortilla chips, in between trash talking.
Ok, football aside, this is also one of my top-raved-about meals that I prepare when we invite friends over for dinner. Because it is so easy and can be made almost completely in advance, it is ideal for when serving guests. Am I the only one who gets stressed over having to shower, clean the house, make sure everyone is dressed, and prepare dinner?! Plus, this meal looks like a lot of work but really isn’t, and pleases everyone.
We actually first had Margarita Chicken at my sister’s house. She made it for my husband & me & life has never been the same. I can actually still remember the way it tasted that first night, and like a good marriage, it has only gotten better with practice & time. It has grown to be a meal that we’re known for and is often requested by our kids!
Recipe adapted from Southern Living.
Marinating the chicken takes less than 3 minutes to prep and is then covered & refrigerated until you’re ready to cook it. The longer you marinate it, the more flavorful the chicken will be, BUT do not let it go too long or the fibers in the meat will start to break down & it will not be as yummy.
We prefer Basmati rice and cook it in our Aroma Rice Cooker to perfection – fluffy, but not mushy. Grilling times for your chicken will vary, so I recommend using an internal thermometer to make sure it is done. Be sure to let your chicken rest before you cut it – that way all the juices will have time to reintegrate into the meat & your chicken will be extra moist.
To make my salsa prep time extra quick & easy, I dice my red pepper, onion, and cilantro in advance, usually right after I marinate the chicken. Then I peel, dice, & combine the remaining ingredients while the chicken is grilling.
We layer our chicken on top of the rice & then pile it high with salsa. Grab a fork, a tall glass of limeade, and enjoy!